5 Things to Know About CrossFit and Pregnancy
Given all the misinformation out there about fitness and motherhood as separate issues, it’s no surprise that women who exercise during pregnancy get a perfect storm of conflicting advice. We talked to two of our very own EverProven mamas-to-be, Katie Michaud and Rachel Campagna, to get the real deal on CrossFit in pregnancy. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when you’re WOD’ing for two.
(Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. Both Katie and Rachel have been blessed with healthy pregnancies so far, and they were avid Crossfitters before they became pregnant. Every situation and every pregnancy is different, so please consult your doctor for guidance.)
1. Listen to your body, and dial back when necessary.
You may need to lower the weight on the bar, and keep your heart rate below your flat-out max. “Once you get pregnant, you’re not going for PRs,” says Katie, who is due in August. If you feel dizzy, faint, unusually exhausted, or nauseous, give yourself a break. For competitive athletes, this may take some adjustment. Rachel says that when she wants to push herself harder, she reminds herself, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.”
One upside: pregnancy is a great time to focus on form. “My form has really improved for all strength exercises, especially Olympic lifts,” says Rachel, who is due in September. “Scaling back has forced me to also focus on form #1 so I’m looking forward to see what I can do post-baby!”
2. Be aware of the modifications you may need in each trimester.
FIRST TRIMESTER (weeks 1-12):
After you find out you’re pregnant, you should scale down the weight, but you should still be able to do upside-down motions, full burpees, full squats, etc.
SECOND TRIMESTER (weeks 13-27) and THIRD TRIMESTER (weeks 28 to birth):
By the second trimester your bump will be more noticeable, and it may start getting in the way. “I was able to still do burpees until 18 weeks,” says Katie, but now she has to modify them so her belly doesn’t hit the ground. You may also need to modify lifts by doing cleans from the hang position, or using dumbbells and kettlebells instead of barbells. “I will either do power cleans / snatches, or break up the movements into two pieces – e.g., power clean then squat,” says Rachel.
After the first trimester, you should avoid lying flat on your back and squatting below parallel. Find a way to modify or substitute exercises. For example, if the WOD calls for ab-mat sit-ups or hollow rocks, do planks instead. “I put a med ball under my butt for wall balls to ensure I do not go below parallel,” says Rachel. Also, keep in mind that the hormone relaxin, which is busy preparing your body for childbirth, may loosen all your joints and ligaments. Watch out for injuries.
4. Eat well and stay hydrated.
While you are probably familiar with the list of foods you shouldn’t eat during pregnancy, don’t forget to check your supplements. Katie says she had to switch to another formula due to ingredients in her usual brand. You may also be surprised by cravings for particular — often very specific — foods, or aversions to foods you ordinarily love. Go with it.
As for weight gain, Katie says she’s not worried about it at all. Rachel says she is deliberately not “eating for two.” “My personal goal is to only gain weight from baby and not fat due to overeating,” says Rachel. “Pregnant women only need an extra 300 calories a day, so I’ve added those extra calories in the form of fruits and nuts (and maybe some dark chocolate M&Ms).”
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water! “The human race in general doesn’t drink enough water,” says Katie, so it is especially important for pregnant women to drink enough.
5. Be proud of the incredible work your body is doing. You are creating an entire new human being!
As the end of your pregnancy approaches and Baby is almost here, remember that all your hard work will pay off. A strong core will reduce back pain and make labor easier. A nurse told Katie that women who squat have more successful births than women who do Kegels!
“It’s an amazing thing to carry a child,” says Katie. “I say, embrace it and try not to complain, because it’s a fascinating gift.”
Congrats to all our EverProven mamas and mamas-to-be!
If pregnant ladies can successfully and safely use CrossFit to maintain their health and wellness… you can too!!! Fill out the form below to ask us any question or to setup a Free intro class!!